MechWarrior: Under Development?

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MechWarrior: Under Development?

Do you like giant humanoid robots? Otherwise known as Mechs? I do. Bipedal ones, with lasers and rockets and maybe jetpacks. Everyone liked them in the nineties. There was Bettletech, a great sci-fi universe. There were games like MechWarrior and MechCommander, books and animation series.

Right now, the market isn’t looking great for giant humanoid robots. Japanese still like them, but the western world has forgotten all about its Mechs.

That’s a great shame. I remember how it felt back in the days of MechWarrior 3, to construct your own walking tank. Will there be enough power? Will the legs carry the weight? Will it shoot 14 lasers at once without blowing up? Piloting your robot was half the fun – it’s the process of engineering your own unique Mech that set the game apart from the competition.

The story of MechWarrior series begins in 1989, on MS-DOS, Apple Macintosh and SNES. The first game featured then-amazing 3D vector graphics, and was based on three elements of play: exploration, Mech acquisition/building, and battle simulation. It was set in the famous Battletech universe, with its mix of science fiction and medieval themes.

The following games built up the solid reputation of the franchise. MechWarrior 2 received Origins Award as the Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game of 1995, MechWarrior 3 – Best Action Computer Game of 1999.

After the release of MW4: Vengeance (2001), FASA, the developer behind the series, was sold to Microsoft and ceased its active operations. Microsoft released MW4: Mercenaries in 2002, and then published two of its own games in the new MechAssault series, developed by Day 1. Unfortunately both of them were XBox exclusives. Other than that, the franchise remained dormant. And then, there was this:

Work on new MechWarrior was announced in 2009. It is (or at least was) developed by Piranha Games (now employing talents from FASA) and Smith & Tinker. The new title will reboot the franchise, proudly carrying the name of the first game. And with Unreal Engine 3, it looks like it means business. We are promised multiplayer, and maybe even four-player co-op. The game will be released for both XBox 360 and PC.

You have to admit, the trailer looks good.

Except maybe it’s just all a big hoax. There haven’t been any news about the game since 2009, right after the developers ran into some legal issues. These screens and the video are the only proof that new MechWarrior was ever in the works. Maybe the project was frozen, or worse, abandoned.

Piranha Games website still displays a banner for the upcoming game. Smith & Tinker, however, “develops and distributes widely appealing mobile games for today’s connected generation”. The blog and twitter account of the Piranha Games developer, Bryan Ekman, hints heavily that a game involving Mechs is being developed. But that, too, may be a part of an urban legend.

In any case, while waiting (or not) for new MechWarrior, while not play MW4: Mercenaries, which recently became free to download? It weighs just 1,7GB, features all your favourite Mechs and comes with access to dedicated servers for online play. A gift for all those who appreciate the beauty of giant humanoid robots. Get it here.

Update: information provided by MwHighlander confirms that a new MechWarrior game will be announced in October. Wohoo! Here at KitGuru, we will keep our eyes and ears open, and tell you as soon as it happens. You can follow BryanEkman and Russ_Bullock on Twitter to stay in the loop.

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MechWarrior: Under Development?, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
5 Comments
  • Jason
    September 7, 2011
    #1
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    The evidence on twitter is compelling. It’s coming.

  • Chris
    September 7, 2011
    #2
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    “There was Battletech”? Battletech is not a “was.” It is an “is,” and it will be a “will be.”

  • Max Smolaks
    September 10, 2011
    #3
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    One of the patriarchs on the Battletech forums said the story needs fact-checking. Any Mech experts out there to help? :)

  • MwHighlander
    September 23, 2011
    #4
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    Hey, lets clear up some confusion — seems to be too much fog on the internet about the status of this game.

    For those of us outside the very dedicated loop of things:
    The last bit of news regarding this title was made public in 2009 with the release trailer and interview. Shortly after that Mektek.net was given the “legal green light” to host MW4:Mercs as a free release and online support. Things quickly turned dark as Harmony Gold decided to open a lawsuit on the visuals regarding the WarHammer (closely based on the Macross Tomahawk).

    What is going on now…

    …well those “rumors” about Bryan Ekman and Russ Bullock on twitter (Lead Developer and President of Piranha Games Inc.) are true. Both Russ and Bryan have been in constant contact with some of the head guys over at Mektek. With what I cannot say — I’m no head cheese over there. But anyway both have been under strict NDA about things until recently…

    After a few “tweets” about the game, about two weeks ago Bryan mentioned that “Preproduction” has been completed on their “new title” and they have begun full time development incorporating Agile and Scrum development styles. If you look closely on the Job Listings at Piranha games, many new positions actually require “In-depth Knowledge of the Battletech Universe”. Coincidence? Not at all actually. While their NDA still restricts them from saying directly that their new title being worked on full time is MechWarrior, it was indirectly confirmed.

    To top it off, @Smith&Tinker, @Russ_Bullock and @BryanEkman have just stated these series of “tweet” :

    Smith & Tinker

    @Jusez0r Super close to making a Mech announcement. Hopefully we’ve got things locked down and are able to announce next month.

    russ_bullock Russ Bullock
    All #MechWarrior fans should start following @russ_bullock and @bryanekman spread the word.

    SmithandTinker Smith & Tinker

    @Anditheway Hold yourself Andi…yes! Hopefully we’ve got a definitive announcement coming next month. #fingerscrossed

    So there it is. The game is going head on! Smith&Tinker are trying to get many MechWarrior/Battletech fans excited for what hopes to be an upcoming announcement on the game in (hopefully) October, 2011. So there it is. I hope that clears up some confusion and you news outlets guys can help spread the word!

    There is something big coming.

  • MwHighlander
    September 23, 2011
    #5
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    Just as a side note : Russ and Bryan have also stated that the legal battle has been settled some good time ago and is in no way slowing down development. Also that “completed preproduction ” assumes that they have received funding support from a publisher and the game is now on its feet.

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